January 27, 2023

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The Italy-United States Bridge shown by David Zwirner – La Voce di New York

In the David Zwirner Gallery, on 19th Street, a stone’s throw from Chelsea Market, recently opened”Rome/New York, 1953-1964″: an exhibition that celebrates the heavy pollution between Italian and American art between the fifties and sixties.

“Both in Italy and in America, art acts as a national salvation, presenting itself as a simulation of life, capable of provoking a debate about the discontent of a society devoted to the rampant technology and commercialization. Between 1945 and 1964, Italian art turned to American art towards researchers, collectors, and dealers. Likewise, he reintroduced American artists focus on a culture whose roots and history can not be erased in the age of fascism.

This is how Germano Celante spoke about the exhibition Rome – New York: 1948-1964 Sponsored him in 1993 at the Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation. The title of the exhibition, which can be visited today in New York, is an apparent homage to the 1993 title and to all the work of the great Genoese critic.

Starting in the fifties, after the end of World War II slowed down the development of new trends, Rome emerged as a center of a new avant-garde thanks to the return of artists, writers and intellectuals from exile and concentration camps.

Alberto Burri, Red Black, 1952 – davidzwirner.com

All this while, on the other side of the ocean, New York was poised to become a contemporary art icon. The informal and abstract painters who worked and exhibited in Rome, supported by such figures as Emilio Villa and Palma Bucarelli (organizer of Jackson Pollock’s first major exhibition in Europe in 1958, at the National Gallery of Modern Art), began to regularly appear in solo exhibitions in the Big Apple.

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Afro Basaldella in 1950 went to the United States and began a twenty-year collaboration with the Catherine Viviano Gallery. Piero Dorazio and Giuseppe Capogorssi worked respectively with Wittenborn One-wall Gallery and Leo Castelli. Alberto Burri, after a prisoner of war experience in Texas in 1940, returned to America in 1953 with a one-man exhibition at the Eleanor Ward Stable Gallery.

Italy, in turn, could attract artists active in New York, including Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Rauschenberg, Salvatore Scarpetta, and Twombly, who exhibited in important venues in Rome, such as the Galleria dell’ Obelisk by Irene Brin, Gaspero del Corso, and the Galleria La Tartaruga by Plinio D. martis.

During this period, she presented group exhibitions in both cities gathered side by side, placing their works in direct dialogue. Fruitful relations arose from this transatlantic exchange: in 1953, Robert Rauschenberg, accompanied by his friend C. Twombly, paid a visit to the studio of Alberto Burri, whose art would remain deeply influenced from that moment on. Twombly himself in 1957, at the suggestion of artist Totti Sialuga, moved to Rome, where he found new inspiration from Greek and Roman mythology.

Afro, Big Summer, 1962 – davidzwirner.com

Then came advertising and the American glorification of consumerism: Italian artists were fascinated by it. In the works of those who grew up with the imprint of neorealism – such as Franco Angeli, Tano Vista, Giuseppe Fioroni, Memo Rotella and Mario Schifano, almost all of whom we can gather in the Piazza del Popolo school – we notice from the mid-1950s the entrance of elements drawn from the field of consumerism or from the dimension Urban of American descent. It was Schifano in particular, who in 1962 exhibited at Sidney Janis in New York at the Historical Gallery The new realistsbecoming the spokesperson for a pictorial practice that welcomes fragments of images, advertisements and text.

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To mark the decade, Robert Rauschenberg also won the Golden Lion in Venice in 1964, the success of which would perpetuate American Pop Art internationally.

The exhibition also highlights the personalities of some of the key figures of post-war Italian art, who are often considered internationally: Gaston Novelli, Achille Pirelli and Carla Accardi, the only woman in the Forma 1 collection.